San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo discussed his turnovers, his mask, and some of the players on the team after Friday’s scrimmage.
Can you tell us a little bit about your mask and the story behind it?
“Yeah, a little late to the party with the masks and everything, but just thought it was appropriate. Get the “Feel’s great, baby” out there. We teamed up with this nonprofit organization, CityTeam, and all the proceeds will go to them, helping families in the Bay Area just during the pandemic, the quarantine, with coronavirus and all that stuff. So, it’s for a good cause, so go get your masks, everyone.”
TE Jordan Reed had a touchdown reception today. I’m just curious how his acclimation process has been and what potentially adding a second tight end, somebody who could complement TE George Kittle and give you guys overall just another pass catching option could do for the offense?
“Yeah, it would be huge. With George having limited reps and everything, it’s given other guys an opportunity to step up. It’s good to see when guys get that opportunity, they’re taking advantage of it. Jordan had a great day today. He could do things in space and make guys miss, and the other guys, [TE] Charlie [Woerner], [TE] Chase [Harrell], those guys have been stepping up, too. So, it’s a group effort there at tight end and you’re happy to see guys take advantage of it.”
Were you as frustrated as it seemed your coach was during today’s practice? It didn’t seem you guys had gotten in a good rhythm after that first series.
“Yeah, it was tough. The first drive felt good, went down there, we were moving the ball, run and passing, a little bit of everything. Yeah, it was just one thing here, one thing there every drive and we couldn’t really string them together. So, we had our flashes, some good plays here and there, but just overall, we’ve just got to be more consistent with it really is what it comes down to.”
Over the past three months, conversations surrounding racial injustice has been reignited a couple of times. I know you guys have had conversations among yourselves. I guess, what is your role, but your thoughts on what’s going on? Also, might you guys have something planned for the season, just as a team-wide type statement?
“Yeah, we’ve had those discussions as a team. [Head coach] Kyle’s [Shanahan] talked about it in front of everyone and I think one thing as our whole team goes is everyone’s very themselves about it. There’s nothing fake about it. No one’s really putting on an act or anything like that. I think it’s good to bring awareness to the situation, just having the Black Lives Matter sign out there in the stadium today. Just the discussions that we’re having on a daily basis, they’re all good and it’s going to help lead us forward in the right direction. So, I think we’re trying to put that together right now. We don’t have anything set in place right now, but we’re working in the right direction.”
RB Raheem Mostert was in there yesterday talking about how T Trent Williams makes it so much easier for the guys running back there. He’s talked about, it’s more about his nerves kind of getting under control than get knocking the rust off. You dealt with coming back after some time off the field. Have you guys talked about your steps and kind of getting away from the nerves?
“Yeah, you kind of have those conversations with I mean, there’s a lot of guys coming back from injuries, but Trent’s been so solid just every day, day in, day out. He brings that same energy, same consistency that you like to see. With a guy like that, we’ll just let him go. The nerves are going to happen. We all have that. If you don’t get nervous before the game, you’ve got problems. It’ll all come in due time, but Trent’s been a pleasure.”
If you could go back for me a little bit, I know this is a bit random, but back when you got traded to the 49ers, they had just come off a bad loss to the Eagles. Obviously, everything happened with you coming here. Do you still remember what that week was like for you? And can you kind of take me into what the vibe was like in the building when you arrived?
“It seems like forever ago. Yeah, it was a much different vibe than it is now, I can tell you that. Just when I first got here, so many rookies were on the team. The team was kind of in a weird place as a whole. It didn’t really have the identity that we have now, I would say, but I think just with Kyle and [general manager] John [Lynch], the people they bring in, it makes it so easy to adapt and get to know each other and be on the same page with everyone. That’s what’s really cool about the vibe of this team. It’s something like I’ve never been on before and it’s fun to be around.”
I’m working on a story on kind of the run blocking prowess that this team established last year and a common theme is that all 11 guys have to run block. That made me think of your play against Minnesota, where even you were one of the 11, with Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr. I’m wondering in offseason film study, when you’re going back to the season, does that play come up? Does Kyle say anything about it? I’m just wondering, when a quarterback lays out a pancake block, does that live on a little bit or have you already forgotten about that play?
“No, that’s one you don’t really forget about. As a quarterback, you don’t get that opportunity many times. That’s one that’ll stick with me, but yeah, Kyle, he’ll bring it up. He does a great job of getting guys engaged. If he could tell guys are kind of sluggish one day, he might bring it up and just get the energy going in the room a little bit, I would say. He knows exactly how to get those guys going, especially in the run game, tying it together with the pass game. That’s when, really, all 11 of us get involved. There’s so many little tweaks in it that make such a difference, but when we can run the ball like we do, it makes us hard to stop.”
I’m curious if you think there’s much, in what ways there might be a carryover, a benefit from having made the Super Bowl last year to this team? Is there a confidence of faith in the system? It’s sort of a related question, Super Bowl teams throughout the last 10, 20 years have had a lot of trouble getting back the next year. Why do you think that is?
“I wouldn’t be able to put my finger on one thing specifically, but just speaking for our team, the one thing that I’m really happy about and as weird as an offseason as it was, we came back and everyone was ready to roll. You could tell that everyone had a good offseason, even being away from everyone and on their own kind of. You could tell guys were putting in the work, guys came prepared, ready for training camp. That’s really the type of team we have, just guys who you know they’re going to put in the time when they have to, whether it’s with coaches or on their own. When players can hold other players accountable, that’s when your team’s in a good spot.”
Wondering what your thoughts on QB C.J. Beathard are and the type of offseason that he’s had? He seems to have focused really hard on conditioning on his physique and wondering if you have seen that?
“Yeah, I think C.J.’s done a great job. He comes ready every day. He’s prepared. Just the competition factor between me, him, and [QB] Nick [Mullens]. It’s one thing in the quarterback room that I love and it just pushes all of us. It makes us all better. At the end of the day, that’s what you want.”
I know you’ve thrown a lot of passes this training camp and it’s hard to single one out, but is there one that you were most pleased with that maybe wasn’t a touchdown pass where you threaded it right into the exact spot? One that stood out for me was a pass you threw to WR Trent Taylor early in camp that just was right on his hand, right when CB Jamar Taylor was on his hip.
“I really can’t pick out one specifically. Today there was one put over the linebacker in front of the corner and in front of the safety, I was pretty pleased with that one. There’s so many throws in training camp. You try not to focus on the good ones. You try to focus on the bad ones and try to make those into good ones. Training camp, it’s a process. That’s what we have to remember, you have to enjoy the struggles, the hard days, because those are going to make the good days better.”
For those of us who have covered this team going back a few years, there haven’t been a whole lot of rookie receivers who have come in and made an impact right away in the way that WR Brandon Aiyuk did before going down. It seems like you guys have a really good rapport. What is it about him that he’s done to earn your trust, to be such a frequent target when he is out there?
“It’s a number of things, I think B does a great job of, he’s prepared every day, he knows what his job is, he knows what his responsibility is on the play. When a guy does that, especially as a rookie, you just look at him a little differently. You’re like, ‘Alright, this guy, he gets it.’ He gets it mentally, gets it physically, and he’s able to do it on the field. We have plenty of conversations off the field, in the locker room, just about how I saw something and how he saw something and it goes with all the receivers and tight ends. All those guys, when they can see the field the same way I see it, it allows us to talk the same language and I think B does a good job of that.”
Kyle was in there a little earlier talking about his frustration and how sometimes it gets misinterpreted. How is it dealing with him and working with him when he seems to be very much a perfectionist?
“Yeah, that’s what you want in your coach, though. When your coach is like that, it trickles down to the other players. Me specifically, it’s kind of how I am. So, I think we match up well in that department, but it’s just, that’s part of football. You want to be coached hard. You don’t want, when a coach starts ignoring you, that’s when you’re in trouble. I love having Kyle as a coach. He pushes me. Like you said, he demands perfection and that’s what you want.”
I don’t know if you recall this, but in last year’s training camp, you threw five straight interceptions in a practice. Anyway, I bring that up, not to be a jerk, but just the other day in the red zone drill, you did have three interceptions. Some people are like, ‘Oh geez, is he going to make it to five?’ Then you came back and I think you threw three touchdowns in a quick succession. I don’t know, now that you’re at this stage in your career, is that just part of a practice or was that a big deal to shake that off and kind of rebound?
“You never want to do that. That’s a starting point. Any interception, it’s a bad interception, but in training camp, it’s a little different. You’re mixing and matching guys, you’re working with guys who you haven’t worked with before. So, you want to take some chances, see what guys can do, see what I could do. There’s a ton of variables that go into it, but if it was a real game, I’d feel a little differently about it. Those interceptions in practice, you never want them to happen, but sometimes they’re a good learning experience.”
Playing at the stadium today, obviously no crowd noise, it was really quiet. Can you just talk a little bit about what that was like? Also, if you could choose, would you want the fake crowd noise or how would you feel about that?
“It was definitely different. Just talking to guys when we were warming up and in stretch lines, it is what it’s going to be. Having you guys out there, the reporters, was the most fans we’ll probably have at home games this year. It’s something that you just have to get used to. Like a lot of these things, it’s out of our control. As far as the crowd noise goes, that’s not really my decision. More of that’s Kyle and the coaching staff will decide that, but whichever way, we’ve played in both. We’ve played in quiet stadiums. We’ve played in as loud as away games as I’ve ever been a part of. So, I think either way, we’ll be just fine.”